The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for November 7, 2021

Afghanistan's past, future and the current humanitarian crisis, how the pandemic changed our relationship with reading, the benefits of talking to strangers, youth at COP26, opening the book on Massey Hall, and unearthing the sacred stories behind Leonard Cohen's lyrics.
Piya Chattopadhyay is host of The Sunday Magazine. (CBC)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay:

Afghanistan's past, future and the current humanitarian crisis

It's been nearly three months since the fall of Kabul and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the world is beginning to see what its rule will look like. Afghanistan's former Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs, Sima Samar talks about how the international community and the previous government failed the country, the current state of human rights there and how to navigate a tumultuous new reality with the Taliban in power. 

How the pandemic changed our relationship with reading

Book awards season is upon us, and while some people stocked up on best sellers during the pandemic, for others, it wasn't so easy. Some people, like The Sunday Magazine's Kristin Nelson, were locked down with their children and struggled to find the time to read. Nelson explores how Canadians' relationship with reading evolved over the course of the pandemic and speaks to a range of readers for insight into what we learned about ourselves and the power of the written word in times of crisis. 

Why it's good to talk to strangers, now more than ever 

Even before the pandemic arrived, chatting with strangers had become a lost art. Blame smart phones, or a generation of "stranger danger" fear mongering, but we just don't talk to each other anymore. Journalist Joe Keohane is trying to change that. His new book, The Power of Strangers, delves into the emerging psychological research demonstrating that small talk can have a big effect, not just for our own mental health, but for society at large. 

Our youth at COP26 

From protests in the streets of Glasgow to literally taking centre stage during presentations at the COP26 climate summit, young people from around the globe made it clear to world leaders that they are not willing to settle for less when it comes to the future of the planet. On Friday, the theme of the conference was youth and public empowerment. We hear the sounds, voices and goals of the youth movement at COP26.

Opening the book on Massey Hall

Known as "The Carnegie Hall of Canada" and, affectionately, as "The Grand Old Dame of Shuter Street", Toronto's Massey Hall is one of the most sought-after destinations for musicians in Canada and beyond. As the 127-year-old venue prepares to re-open following a three-year closure for renovations, author David McPherson discusses the history of the hall, from the big names, to the classic tunes and tales of concerts in this cathedral of Canadian music, in his new book Massey Hall: An Enduring Legacy.

Unearthing the sacred stories behind Leonard Cohen's lyrics

Five years ago, poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of 82. He left behind timeless songs, such as Hallelujah and Suzanne. And as author Harry Freedman explains in a new book, Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius, Cohen's lyrics are timeless in part because their source material is so often found in religious texts and legends. Freedman walks us through some of Cohen's most beloved songs, illuminating the sacred underpinnings of so much of Cohen's work.